History is the study of people, their relationships to each other as individuals and as groups, how politics operates, how society and economics influence people, how culture shapes minds and the factors behind change and continuity. History can involve broad sweeps of development, and also very intricate analysis of vital turning points. Historians are always focussed on the big “why” questions, and as such develop a wide-range of knowledge and skills. The History ‘A’ Level includes a breadth study of Britain 1603 to 1702, as well as a depth study of Russia 1917 to 1953. There will also be the opportunity to complete a substantial piece of historical research.
Historians develop skills in assessing information, weighing up evidence, identifying accurate and inaccurate information, interpreting sources, analysing the arguments of others, and assembling our own. Historians develop very high order communication skill, especially, but not exclusively, in the written word, to communicate often complex and sophisticated ideas. Historians develop a disciplined mind, but one that is open minded and aware of the importance of debate. Historians become independent thinkers, who can prioritise and can solve intellectual problems.
The Depth and Breadth topics will both be assessed by written exam at the end of the two year course, 40% of the final result on each paper. The historical research paper will be completed during the course, and will take the form of a 3,500 word essay on a topic of the students own choice. This will constitute the final 20% of the final grade.
History combines well with almost any other set of ‘A’ Levels. History is a facilitating subject when applying to Russell Group universities. Beyond college, the intellectual rigor of History, and the need to form judgements, to sift and assess evidence, to analyse the views of others and to communicate effectively creates a set of very marketable job skills. Historians work in wide range of professional and managerial roles, in employment areas such as law, civil service, human resources, public relations, journalism, accountancy, finance, banking, marketing, project leadership, media, the list is almost endless. Many of these jobs are both interesting and remunerative.